Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko who is currently serving a jail sentence for abuse of office has addressed European politicians with a call to recognize the Ukrainian parliamentary poll as illegitimate before it even takes place. The address was read in the European Parliament by Tymoshenko’s daughter Yevgenia, who also held meetings with leaders of the European People’s Party – a coalition of European center-right parties who have long been allies with Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party. “The main message is to make a statement right now that these elections are illegitimate. After the elections are over it will be too late,” Yevgenia Tymoshenko said. “The dictatorship in Ukraine has practically been built. The elections will help to strengthen it,” she added. These words echoed last month’s statement by Wilfried Martens, president of the European People’s Party, who said that Yulia Tymoshenko’s arrest was a shift by President Viktor Yanukovich’s administration towards “Soviet-style authoritarianism.”
Tymoshenko’s sentence also stalled the signing of an Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, and many European officials boycotted June’s Euro 2012 football championship in Ukraine as a sign of solidarity with the jailed politician. President Yanukovich earlier rejected the charges of political pressure, saying an appeal to Europe’s human rights court would only confirm the legality of Tymoshenko’s conviction. He also stated that it was Europe that applied pressure on Ukraine, as it used all means to influence the court decision in the case.